“Dick, you’re not on the bus tonight.”

The question Third Man asks you is; would Albert Hornby and Dick Barlow open for Lancs in each of their sides in Season2010? 

Looking through his tears, would Francis Thompson first need to know which form of the game his ghosts were playing?  LVCC, CB40 or FPt20?

Third Man has learnt that Hornby was strong on the front-foot and played the off-drive superbly.   He was more than useful in the field and an inspirational captain. 

There is no doubt that Hornby would have been on the team sheets for the four day LV County Championship, the CB40 format and the FPt20 competition. 

However Barlow was an innovator of the defensive spirit.  He developed the forward defensive and is described as ‘dour and resolute’.  He’s on the team sheet for the LVCC matches, there can be no doubt about that, but would the Director of Cricket need him for CB40 or FPt20?   

This season a number of Counties have invested heavily in buying players just for T20, gambling to win entry into the Champions League.

Hornby and Barlow would open in just three County Championship matches at Old Trafford in the whole of June and July this year.  Could Barlow be ‘loaned’ to another county for that time?

Overseas players come and go depending on their availability and here too decisions on replacements will be influenced by the types of cricket played in the periods under consideration.   

The ECB’s initiatives to link funding to the number of young players fielded is very welcome and overdue, but, even with home grown talent, are we heading for contracts for specific tournaments? 

If a youthful Barlow isn’t needed for Lancashire’s CB40 and T20 sides wouldn’t he want to seek a contract in Derbyshire’s CB40 season?  That would be attractive for him in terms of career development, attractive to Derbyshire to have his fighting spirit, attractive to Lancashire to have him off the payroll for those matches.

Captain of his Side, Albert, has a difficult conversation.  “Dick, you’re not on the bus tonight.”

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